Dr. Google is not always right. Here are 5 common “food myths” you may have believed and the truths to set you free…
5 Food Myths Busted
- Myth #1: Don’t Eat After 8 pm
- Myth #2: Calories In = Calories Out
- Myth #3: Go Gluten Free
- Myth #4: Meat Causes Cancer
- Myth #5: Fruit Makes You Fat
Myth #1: Don’t Eat After 8 pm
Truth: Timing is not as important as you may think.
Your bod is not bound to the same meal clock you and I are (ex. “Lunch is at noon”). Although it does have circadian rhythms (a biological clock), these rhythms don’t stop digesting if you do eat after 8 p.m.
Ultimately, your body views food as fuel, and within a 24-hour cycle, as long as it is getting fed and nourished regularly and adequately, it could care less about the timing rules or even the names of the meals you have.
For instance: it sees “breakfast” as “Meal 1”, lunch as “Meal 2”…and late night snack as a “little bit of extra nourishment”—especially if you are genuinely hungry for a little something-something.
The only reason you may want to consider timing in the evening hours is digestion. Lying down right after eating can slow the north-to-south process of digestion.
However, if you find you are still hungry before bed, I often recommend sleeping with your head propped up at an angle and taking digestive support—like digestive enzymes—to support proper digestion.
Myth #2: Calories In = Calories Out
Truth: Eating more—not less—calories is “the way” to overall health and metabolic function.
When we don’t eat enough, our body goes into “reserve” mode. In “reserve” mode, your body reduces calories expended, as well as throws off your hormonal balance in an attempt to restore energy balance.
Not knowing when it will get its next meal, and being forced to run off little fuel, your body fights back, doing everything it can to make you stop losing, as well as experience things like:
- A “sluggish” metabolism hormonal imbalances
- Energy dips and highs
- Sugar, caffeine or fruit cravings
- Obsessive thoughts about food and body image
- Lowered immunity
- Bloating, constipation
- Suppressed appetite
- And low energy
The bottom line? Eat more—NOT less—calories for a revving metabolism (Average 1800-2200 calories as a baseline for a woman with a moderate active lifestyle—3-5 days/week of movement).
Myth #3: Go Gluten Free
Truth: Gluten is NOT the only culprit.
The gluten-free movement has taken the food industry by storm. Gluten-free menus are now offered at many restaurants and wheat-free options are now normal finds on grocery store shelves.
Should you go gluten-free?
Maybe. Or maybe not. Deciding if certain foods fall into your personal dietary intake really comes down to getting in check with your body:
- Do you break out when you eat it?
- Experience gas and bloating?
- Allergies flare up?
- Constipation happens?
- Bloating and gas?
- Joint pains or stiff joints are your norm?
- Yeast infections are frequent?
- You have a weaker immune system?
- Don’t understand why you’re always so anxious or worried?
- Have hormonal imbalances or crazy PMS?
- Autoimmune condition?
- Frequent headaches you think nothing about?
- Get stuffy or sinus congestion easily?
If so, chances are something in your diet is impacting you. It COULD be gluten…or it may not be the gluten.
Gluten is not the ONLY enemy.
The wheat or “gluten” we eat today is 100-percent different than the wheat and gluten of the days of old—a time when our ancestors soaked, sprouted and soured grains for preparation (all of which aided in our body’s natural ability to digest them without any “anti-nutrients” involved).
Prior to 1910, 70-percent of all bread eaten in the U.S. was baked at home, stone ground and fermented—a process of letting bread sit over time to create yeast cultures. By 1924, the percentage changed to only 30-percent, and in 1961 the bread-making industry began using more and more high-speed mixers, cheap wheat, chemicals, solid vegetable fat, commercial yeast and water, in the majority of their products—producing a loaf of bread from flour to sliced-and-packaged form in as little as three hours.
Today, although we blame gluten on the reason why breads and other gluten-containing grains are “not good for us,” there is actually more to it than meets the eye.
So should YOU go gluten free?
The best way to determine if gluten is affecting you is to ask: How does this food make me feel? Let your body speak for itself.
Myth #4: Meat Causes Cancer
Truth: Bad Meat Causes Cancer & High Cholesterol
Cancer and high cholesterol are both inflammatory conditions that are triggered when your body encounters various inflammation and stressors.
Certain dietary triggers (like poor quality meat consumption, or lack of veggies with your proteins) may be more “inflammatory” to some people, whereas other stressors, (such as lack of sleep and smoking) are more present and inflammatory for others.
Unfortunately, most studies and reports on meat consumption fail to distinguish the differences in conventional (antibiotic, grain-fed, inhumanely raised) meats vs. grass-fed, pastured, anti-inflammatory meats.
Most studies also fail to cover or expose the other stressors that may be present in the study subjects including:
- Pesticides on fruits & veggies
- Gut irritating foods (high intake of grains, sugar, processed, hydrogenated oils or refined foods)
- Conventional meats (containing hormones & antibiotics)
- Lack of a balanced diet (i.e. high meat consumption without enough greens, prebiotics, healthy fats or fermented foods)
- Low water intake (for flushing the body)
- Gut dysfunction (low stomach acid, low digestive enzymes, bacterial overgrowth)
- Toxins in our environment (products, home, mold, metals exposure, air quality)
When interpreting a study that claims “meat causes cancer,” “meat causes high cholesterol” or other claims like— “carbs cause weight gain,” or even “broccoli is toxic,” ALWAYS question:
- Who were the test subjects?
- What was their current lifestyle, diet and gut health like?
There’s often more to the story than meets the eye.
Myth #5: Fruit Makes You Fat
Truth: Fruit is a real food and does not make you fat.
Many people eliminate fruit from their diets because they have been misinformed about fruit. They think fruit sugars are harmful because of their fructose, or that certain fruits like bananas and pineapples make you “fat.”
This trend stemmed from old studies based on research using processed high fructose corn syrup, NOT NATURAL FRUCTOSE FROM FRUITS.
Remember that fruits are NOT JUST SUGAR, they are carbohydrates packed with vitamins, minerals and the cleanest burning fuel for every cell in your body.
Like any other food, BALANCE is key—and we can over do anything. Incorporate 1 to 2 different real fruits as part of your daily intake.
Bonus Digestion Hack: Fruit digests faster than most foods we eat. For optimal digestion, eat it separate from complex meals as a snack, tossed into a smoothies or alongside easier digesting foods, like with grass-fed yogurt or coconut yogurt.